Haroon Ashraf

The Skin and Gut Homeopath

The Gut and

Skin Connection

and how it affects your treatment choices

The Gut & Skin Connection

Chronic skin disease can be all-consuming and debilitating. Eczema, psoriasis, acne, topical steroid withdrawal and other skin conditions adversely affect quality of life, causing not only physical suffering but also creating a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.

I see the interdependence between skin and gut health time and time again during the course of practice. Deficiencies in gut health can often be reflected by the skin, and indeed our skin can help build a picture of what is going on internally. I have come across several cases of eczema being linked to a certain food intolerance and/or other gut-related conditions. Sometimes, the approach of reseting one’s dietary regime alongside homeopathic treatment that targets both the gut and skin has proven to be immensely beneficial to my patients who suffer from such skin conditions.

Do the Gut & Skin Communicate?

Although the gut and skin are two completely different organs, scientific evidence reveals that they do indeed “communicate" with one another. The gut - skin communication can manifest in many skin conditions such as in the eruption of wheals and red rash on the skin as a result of eating an allergic food. Gluten intolerance suffered by a quarter of psoriasis patients highlights a correlation between skin and gut health. There is significant evidence to show that a gluten- free and healthy diet greatly improves the appearance of psoriasis through restoring gut health. Eczema is another example of the complexity of the skin’s relationship with one’s diet. Food allergies are known to significantly exacerbate eczema. There is substantial evidence that an exclusion diet not only reduces the chances of allergic reaction but also alleviates symptoms of eczema. The use of probiotics (foods that modulate gut microbiome such as yoghurt and kefir) has proved considerably beneficial in improving eczema in children.

Foods with a high glycemic index are known to cause and contribute to the onset of acne, as they significantly raise blood sugar levels. In chronic urticaria, pseudo-allergens in the diet found in additives and preservatives as well as natural compounds such as salicylic acid found in plants, directly react with skin. Pseudo-allergen free diets have been shown to work for chronic urticaria patients, even when other treatments have failed. Tiny itchy spots on skin that erupt symmetrically over different parts of the body of coeliac disease patients and skin nodules and ulcers associated with inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease) also indicate a relationship between skin and gut health. Rosacea, the inflammatory skin disease characterised by facial flushing, nodules and swelling, is associated with small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and with a number of other gastrointestinal diseases.

These seemingly small but interesting points shed light on how the skin and gut interact, and how our skin responds to our diet. It is apparent then, that what we eat affects our skin inside out.

Skin conditions and homeopathy

Homeopaths will confirm that one of the most commonly referred conditions are those of skin, and that the homeopath’s track record in achieving positive results with skin conditions, including specifically facial skin conditions, remains successful. Evidence from both clinical trials and patient outcome studies show that homeopathy has a profound curative effect on skin conditions, which my clients have also experienced on numerous occasions whilst working with me.

Conventional treatments are directed to superficially inhibit the inflammation providing only temporary relief with lesions and inflammation usually coming back with a vengeance after cessation of treatment. However, homeopathy focuses on the cause and effect relationship to reach the crux of the issue. A skin condition may be a consequence of compromised gut health, imbalance in gut microbiome, toxicity, hormonal irregularities or stress and anxiety, amongst many more.

This highlights the importance of a holistic treatment plan, in tandem with the homeopathic concept of individualised treatment.

Resetting the gut with homeopathy

70% of the body’s immune system resides in the gut and so gut health that is compromised can have a bearing on one’s general health and wellbeing. Inflammatory bowel diseases, food intolerances and other gut conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can at times be all-consuming. These conditions can also seriously impede quality of life and have implications on one’s social and mental wellbeing.

Homeopathy continues to be effective in managing inflammatory bowel diseases and improving gut health. Treatment works to gradually reduce the severity of flare ups whilst prolonging the periods of remissions. This, taken in tandem with homeopathic protocols and dietary advice aimed at protecting, diversifying and nurturing the gut microbiome, has brought considerable relief to patients. I am working with a number of clients who have responded well to my treatment over time and have chosen to stay under my care for extended periods of time. My patients find that the therapeutic benefits offered by safe homeopathic medicine make it a treatment of choice for many of them with gut-related issues.